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8 Lessons 30 Somethings Wish They Could Tell Their 25 Year-Old Selves

8 Lessons 30 Somethings Wish They Could Tell Their 25 Year-Old Selves

Turning 25 is an often forgot about milestone that truly marks our entrance into adulthood. While it is true that the only things we can do at 25 is lower our car insurance rates, or purchase life insurance before the cost goes up, it also marks a time in life when we start on the path toward figuring out who we are. When we enter our 30s there are several pieces of advice we wish we could give to our 25 year old selves during that important year.

1. DO allow your passion to define you instead of job titles and descriptions

Passion is an intense emotion that we experience when we feel incredibly enthusiastic about something that we deeply care about. Our passions are supposed to be the creative and driving forces behind our actions. Ideally, the work we do for a living should nicely align with what we are passionate about. However, there are times when our passions are diminished by job titles that determine the value we bring to the world. We become defined as assistants, directors, service representatives, or managers and not as creators, learners, healers, artists, poets, inventors, scholars, activists, or thinkers. Therefore, someone in their thirties wishes he could tell his 25 year old self to be your passion and not your job.

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2. DON’T let fear prevent you from asking for what you want

Fear is a powerful emotion that can prevent us from having the lives that we dream of when we become too afraid to ask for what we want. This fear arises when we feel we run the risk of being told no, or having to sacrifice something in return for what we ask for. Then it feels more safe to not pursue what we want, rather than have our dreams be blown up by rejection or tainted by concessions. Yet, many people in their thirties lament all of things they could have had if they’d only asked for it when they were 25 – an increase of pay or change of job title, a relationship with someone they’d loved but never pursued, support for an innovative business venture, etc.

3. DO judge success by how you feel, and not by what you have

When we become adults, we begin to strive for those things that indicate we’ve reached a level of success and maturity within our lives – the nice car, comfortable home, fancy clothes, and a high paying job. Every day we are inundated with messages from television, print ads, music, family and friends that tell us what it means to be successful, and over time we may stop listening to the internal messages that help us define success for ourselves. Then a day may come when we look at all of the things we have accumulated while simultaneously asking ourselves “Who am I and what do I want?” Many 30 somethings wish they could tell their 25 year old selves to take time to listen to those internal messages that will help them to answer those questions.

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4. DON’T speak about your gifts, talents, and interests in the past tense

We each have unique talents, gifts and interests. Yet, as we get older many of the things that we love to do or study fall to the wayside as we become bogged down by everyday living and responsibilities. When others ask us about our interests, creative ventures, or hobbies we may shrug and say, “Well I used to enjoy writing but can’t find the time to do it as much as I used to,” or “I used to love to travel, but haven’t done it in years.” Yet, our 25 year old selves should know that when we allow our gifts, talents and interest to become parts of our past, we miss out on those aspects of ourselves that make us unique.

5. DO appreciate the love that comes in unexpected ways

To love and be loved can be a transformative experience because it adds a special and intangible value to our lives. As cliché as it sounds, love can turn bad days into bearable ones, convert tears to smiles, and give purpose to the aimless. Often, we hope to find love through our relationships with a significant other, hoping that he or she will complete a part of our lives that feels empty. However, as we search for that forever love with that special someone, we may overlook the other types of love that have the power to transform us and our lives. Unconditional love can be found through the sincerity of long time soul friendships, or by developing extremely close and loving bonds with family members. It can be found in community, whether it is spiritual, neighborhood-based, artistic, or activist.

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6. DON’T allow the opinions of others to cloud your decision making

We’ve all experienced being incredibly excited about a new idea, venture, or decision to then have someone we love relentlessly pellet us with doubting questions. In those moments, it feels like the wind was knocked out of our sails and the air let out of our balloons. One instant we are so invested in our visions, and then someone shares their opinion about our choices and we question ourselves, or don’t follow through on a plan. However, although our loved ones think they know what’s best for us, if we always let their opinions change our minds we could be missing out on those special moments in life. Our 25 year old versions would want to know that it is important to hold on to the dreams that excite us and put the wind in our sails.

7. DO recognize when it’s time to discard old baggage and expired relationships

There’s a well known adage that says, “people come into our lives for a reason, season, or lifetime.” However, can we tell the difference between those relationships that are to last for a season those that are for a lifetime? Many of us hold on to friendships and intimate, familial, and work-based relationships that suited well us in the past, yet presently stall our personal and professional growth. Some of our relationships can begin to feel one-sided, where we give much and receive very little in return. Other times our relationships begin to feel like a contest where our loved-ones put us down, do not express happiness about our achievements, or find fault with our decisions. Many 30 somethings want to tell their 25 year old selves to let go of expired relationships to focus on more significant relationships and endeavors.

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8. DON’T judge your mistakes, but find the lesson in them

One man’s mistake is another man’s lesson, and when we learn from our mistakes we give ourselves permission to recognize our own humanity. As we get older, we have to make more and more decisions in our lives as we take on more responsibilities. Therefore, mistakes are to be expected because we cannot foresee the outcome of every choice we make. Yet, when we make mistakes we often berate ourselves what we did wrong rather than asking what we could do differently in the future to prevent a similar outcome.

Featured photo credit: Mateusz Stachowski via freeimages.com

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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